In the spirit of the season, I present a little Halloween story for your enjoyment. I’m not sure how ‘good’ it is, but it’s just a silly little story I came up with so I warn ahead of time, don’t expect Stephen King. Enjoy!
I woke up at my usual time, but I just wanted to flop back down onto my pillow. I had trouble sleeping the other night due to a fitful sleep. It wasn’t because it was a nightmare. Quite the opposite actually. I hadn’t had such a beautiful dream in a long time. It wasn’t a particularly fantastic dream. It was plain and simple. I could remember seeing myself. It was like looking into a mirror but only better. My hair was bright and shiny and I felt happy. The sky was blue and the air was sweet. Sometimes I can even smell in my sleep.
It started out in the large meadow outside of town. The grass was green and the trees were tall and proud. The meadow was where a lot of kids went after school; and in some cases during. It was also a hot bed of activity during the summer months. We’d just go out there with our blankets and picnic baskets and just spend the day either staring up at the sky or taking a dip in the nearby lake. In a town our size, that’s about as exciting as it gets. At night the couples would sneak out and find some dark corner to fool around. I think more than half the population of Dalesport has been conceived in that meadow.
In my case, I was lying in the tall grass and the warmth of the sun filling me up. I could feel Billy’s hand slip along my arm until he looped his fingers over mine. I turned and saw him next to me, smiling. He always had such a beautiful smile and sparkling eyes.
“Hey, Candy.” He whispered.
“We should get back into town soon. The game’s about to start.”
“Do we have to even go?”
“Well, I know I do I’m the quarterback.”
“It’s so nice out. I bet if we just stayed here, no one would even care.”
“Coach will. Trust me. Look, we’re playing Brookside. We’ll whup those boys before half time. We can come back here if you want.”
“I do. I really do.” I said. I couldn’t remember wanting to be in that meadow so badly. It got fuzzy after that, and then I saw me and Billy waling into town. He had my hand in his and everyone looked so happy and upbeat. The birds were singing and I could hear people greeting each other with cheerful voices. It just felt like a great day to be alive.
The ice cream parlor was busy and as we passed, Mr. Tromboli stepped out and waved to us.
“Good afternoon, you two! Care to stop in? Half price sundaes today!”
“Sorry, Mr. Tromboli,” Billy said. “Maybe after the game.”
“All right, son. You go get ‘em!”
We were constantly being stopped by people anxious to wish Billy good luck in the game. I was beginning to think we weren’t going to make it if anymore people stopped us.
As we approached the high school, the sound of the marching band grew stronger and I could see the flags of the school colors flying high over the field. I looked over at Billy and I felt so proud to be his girlfriend. He flashed his smile at me and my heart skipped a few more beats.
“I better go get to the locker room. I’ll be watching for you.” He then kissed me on my cheek and raced away toward the gym. I headed on to the field and I heard the roar of the crowd and the symphony of the marching band. Confetti drifted down like snow. I saw the cheerleaders in the middle of one of their routines and everyone seemed to be real happy. That was when I woke up. I looked around my room and everything looked the same as ever. I then slid out from under my covers and walked to my window and pulled open my shade. My heart sunk like a stone. For one brief moment I had forgotten what had happened to the town. For a one split-second I thought our nightmare had finally ended.
The paint on the houses on my street were faded and chipped. The street was cracked and they sky was a sickening brown color. The lawns were dying and there was a constant chill in the air.
I got dressed and headed down to the kitchen and found my family sitting at the table eating breakfast. Mom was wearing her pink bathrobe and standing in front of the stove pushing some eggs around in a frying pan while my kid brother, Jimmy, was wolfing down a bowl of some crazy colored cereal. My Dad had his morning paper and everyone just seemed to be in their own world.
“Good morning.” I said. Mom turned toward me and offered a weak smile, but Dad and Jimmy were non-responsive. I had grown used to it. There was a day when everyone was in a good mood and we’d all eat together and actually talk. I took my seat at the table and then Mom came up behind me and dumped some eggs onto my plate.
“Toast is a little burnt, if you want any.” She said.
“Can I have some ice cream now?” Jimmy asked.
“No. It’s breakfast time. We don’t have ice cream for breakfast.” Mom said. Her voice was tired and withdrawn.
“But I want ice cream!”
“I said no. Don’t you get enough sugar with that cereal?”
“I want ice cream!”
“Ralph! Talk to your son!” My dad lowered his paper and looked over at Jimmy.
“You finish your cereal?” He asked.
“Have your ice cream.” He said.
“Ralph!” Mom barked. He looked over at her and shot her an icy stare.
“I’d like to read my damn paper in peace, Cora. Does it really matter how he rots out his teeth?” Jimmy leapt off his seat and raced for the freezer and pulled out a carton of ice cream. It was a new brand called Crazy Cream. It was a local brand that had popped up seemingly overnight and it was the most popular treat in town. The store could barely keep it in stock. The carton was splashed with bright colors and had lots of little cartoon clowns all over it. Jimmy pulled the lid off and flopped down on the floor and pulled a big scoop out with his bare hand and crammed it in his mouth. He kept shoveling the stuff in like he had been starving for it. Mom looked as though she wanted to stop him, but just didn’t have the energy to try.
I had not really taken to Crazy Cream. All the flavors came in weird, unnatural looking colors and had weird names. Caramel Cotton Candy and Ringmaster Ripple were the top sellers, it seemed. Everyone else in town loved it. It was like they couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Like they were addicted or something.
I looked over at Jimmy and his face was smeared with ice cream and he kept eating. I had also noticed he had gained quiet a bit of weight since he started eating it. A few weeks ago he had a slender build, but he had ballooned up since then. He legs were chubby and he had sprouted and extra chin. I turned away, but I could still hear his ravenous noises as he emptied out the carton.
“We need more!” He shouted.
“I’ll go to the store later, dear.” Mom said.
“We need more!” He persisted.
“Later! Please!” Mom looked like she was on her last nerve; much like the rest of town.
I finished my breakfast and grabbed my backpack and ran out the door. As I walked down the street, I saw that all the lawns of all the homes had died and were nothing but large brown patches.
I turned the corner and saw some other kids walking to school but they shambled along like zombies. All the people I passed by were just as responsive. Everyone seemed to be in a daze and everything in town was dying. It wasn’t always like that. It was just how things were after the clowns came.